Shelby G. Floyd
And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.-Galatians 2:9 KJV
FELLOWSHIP WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT
There are three persons in the Godhead, each of which is identified by the term God, and that is a generic term identifying and denoting the divine nature. Each member of the Godhead is a distinct person. One cannot be in fellowship with one person in the Godhead without being in fellowship with the other members of the Godhead. If one is out of fellowship with one member of the Godhead, he is out of fellowship with all of the members. Since one is baptized into fellowship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28: 18-20), therefore, it would be logical that blessings should be conferred and invoked upon children of God from each of these three divine persons.
In the benediction of Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, we find the highest redemptive blessings brought together, distributed and conferred by each person in the Godhead. “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen” (2 Corinthians 13: 14). This statement is a wish or prayer that not only the grace of Jesus Christ and the love of God, but also the communion of the Holy Spirit might rest upon his readers.
The word communion, in this statement, is translated from a word which means fellowship, association, community, joint participation and is used in this context with the share which one has in anything, participation, with the genitive of the thing in which one shares (Thayer, p. 352). One may have fellowship with the Holy Spirit when one shares in or participates in the influence and graces, which the Holy Spirit imparts through the inspired word of God. The Holy Spirit influences and confers his favors upon the children of God in no other way except through the medium of the word of truth. For instance, some of the virtues which the Spirit enjoins upon us in the word of God are enumerated by Paul to the Galatians, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Galatians 5: 22-23). When one exhibits these graces in his life, it is proof that this one has fellowship with the Holy Spirit. One may know a peach tree by the fruit, which it bears; one may know that he has fellowship with the Spirit by bearing the fruit of the Spirit.
Paul furthermore said to the Galatians, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:25). To live in the Spirit and to walk in the Spirit is equivalent to walking and living according to the teaching of the Holy Spirit in the word of God. One of the highest privileges is to be influenced by the Holy Spirit so as to be in fellowship with the Spirit.
When one is in fellowship with the Holy Spirit he is obligated to exhibit the marks of the Christian life, which the Spirit enjoins through the word of God. This is the thought, which Paul expressed to the Philippians:
“If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfill ye my joy, that ye be like minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves” (Philippians 2:1-3).
The meaning of this statement is that since the Philippians had enjoined the consolation in Christ, the comfort of God’s love and the fellowship of the Spirit, they were obligated to be of one mind and to be motivated by humility rather than strife and vain glory.
One has fellowship with the Holy Spirit when one participates in the influence of the Holy Spirit, and shares the same views as does the Holy Spirit. The human heart is said to be full of the Spirit when its affections and acts are directed and controlled by the Holy Spirit. But the Holy Spirit does not direct and control one except through the word. For instance, the Ephesians were commanded by an inspired man to, “…be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). In a parallel statement by the same author, we find how one is filled with the Spirit: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom” (Colossians 3:16.) One is filled with the Spirit by letting the word of Christ dwell in him richly. The Holy Spirit then influences one by the word of truth.
It is not enough to come into fellowship with the Holy Spirit, but one must maintain that fellowship by living faithfully the Christian life. Some of the persons to whom the Hebrew letter was directed had partaken of the Holy Spirit, but were in danger of losing that fellowship by unfaithfulness to the teaching of Christ.
“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame” (Hebrews 6:4-6).
It is impossible to renew one again unto repentance, who has come into fellowship with the Holy Spirit by partaking of his influence in the word of God, and then falls away. It is not impossible for that one to renew himself by repenting of his sins, but it is impossible for another to renew a child of God who has rejected the message of the Holy Spirit revealed in the word of truth (Cf. Nehemiah 9: 30; Acts 7: 51-55). Therefore, one severs his fellowship with the Holy Spirit when he rejects the teaching of the Holy Spirit and falls away from the truth.
QUESTIONS ON THE LESSON
1. Can one be in or out of fellowship with one member of the Godhead, without being in or
out of fellowship with the other members of the Godhead? (Discuss).
2. How does one come into fellowship with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit?
3. In Paul’s benediction to the Corinthians what did he wish for them?
4. Define the word “communion” as used in this lesson, and discuss how one has communion with the Holy Spirit.
5. Through what medium does the Holy Spirit influence us? Describe how this works.
6. Specify the “fruit of the Spirit.”
7. How does one “live in the Spirit?”
8. What are some further identifying marks of character of those in fellowship with the Holy Spirit?
9. Describe how one is to be “filled with the Spirit.”
10. Is it possible for one to lose the fellowship with the Holy Spirit? How can this be done?
18And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.
2 Corinthians 13:14
14The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24Those who belong to
ChristJesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
1Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.
18Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.
16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.
4For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.
30For many years you were patient with them. By your Spirit you admonished them through your prophets. Yet they paid no attention, so you handed them over to the neighboring peoples.
Copyright © 2002, 2018 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved
Shelby G. Floyd
Heartland Church of Christ
1693 West Main Street
Greenwood, Indiana 46142